As part of Porsche’s annual Night of Champions in Stuttgart, Germany, the manufacturer’s GT plans came into focus in full after weeks and months preparing to reveal its 2018 program.
The IMSA GT Le Mans side will, as expected, see ex-LMP1 drivers Nick Tandy and Earl Bamber return to North America. The pair has enjoyed rapid, meteoric trajectories as Porsche factory drivers and will be back to being split in the pair of Porsche 911 RSRs next season.
Tandy will share the No. 911 car with Patrick Pilet, and Bamber the No. 912 car with Laurens Vanthoor.
Gianmaria Bruni, who co-drove with Vanthoor in the second half of 2017, has been transferred over to Porsche’s FIA World Endurance Championship entry and will run as third driver in the No. 912 car next year. Fred Makowiecki will be third driver in the No. 911 car.
Dirk Werner, who co-drove with Pilet in North America this year, will race for Porsche in both the Intercontinental GT Challenge and Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup next year.
Porsche has also revealed the technical details behind the “evo” package upgrade for its Porsche 911 GT3 R GT3 car, which enters its third year in 2018.
Per Porsche, the customer car receives an upgrade – not a fully new car – for the 2018 season. The parts kit, which can be used to update all 2016 and 2017 models, includes among other things, a new front lid/hood for the optimization of thermal management and side flicks on the front bumper to improve aerodynamic balance.
IMSA’s 2018 season starts with the Roar Before the Rolex 24 in early January, then the Rolex 24 at Daytona itself later that month.
Helio Castroneves and Ricky Taylor delivered Team Penske’s first victory this season in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, winning at Road America from the pole position Sunday and moving up to sixth in points after finishing no better than seventh in the first three races this season.
The Team Penske No. 7 Acura DPi led a race-high 48 of 63 laps, including the final four after Castroneves seized a restart to take first from Renger van der Zande, who finished second with Ryan Briscoe in the No. 10 Cadillac DPi.
Other class winners at the Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, road course were the No. 81 ORECA LMP2 07 of Henrik Hedman and Ben Hanley in LMP2, the No. 3 Corvette C8.R of Antonio Garcia and Jordan Taylor in GTLM and the No. 12 Lexus RC F GT3 of Townsend Bell and Frankie Montecalvo in GTD.
RAIN-SOAKED RELIEF: Castroneves delivers Penske’s first win with late pass
Here are the race stats, points and results from the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race at Road America:
RESULTS: Click here for the overall finishing order and here for the class breakdown.
POINTS: In the DPi standings, the No. 10 Cadillac of Briscoe and van der Zande leads by six points (124-118) over the No. 5 Cadillac of Joao Barbosa and Sebastien Bourdais.
The No. 3 Corvette of Antonio Garcia and Jordan Taylor leads the GTLM standings with 130 points, 10 more than the No. 912 Porsche of Earl Bamber and Laurens Vanthoor.
In GTD, the No. 12 Lexus of Bell and Montecalvo moved into the lead by four points (121-117) over AIM Vasser Sullivan teammates Jack Hawksworth and Aaron Telitz in the No. 14 Lexus.
The No. 38 of Performance Tech Motorsport leads in LMP2.
Click here for the points standings for drivers and teams after Road America.
STATS PACKAGE FOR ROAD AMERICA:
Fastest laps by driver
Fastest laps by driver after race
Fastest laps by driver and class after race
Fastest lap sequence
Race analysis by lap
NEXT: The IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship’s GT classes will race Aug. 21-22 at Virginia International Raceway.